AN: And as my story turns another year older, unto you is born a new chapter! Happy 2014!
"They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm."
- Dorothy Parker
Later that night…
Maggie paced nervously around her cluttered office at Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital, her cell phone pressed firmly against her ear. She heard it ring on the other end, for the fifth time and sighed deeply.
"Come on, come on!" she muttered to herself, checking her watch for what must've been the fifteenth or sixteenth time. It was 8 o'clock here in Springwood. So, given the time difference, that would make it almost 2 am in…
There was click on the other end that suddenly interrupted Maggie's train of thought. The voice that spoke was deep, rich, male, and decidedly groggy. "Hello…?"
Despite everything that had been happening recently, Maggie couldn't help but smile as she heard the voice of her oldest and dearest friend for the first time in almost four years. "Doc?"
The voice on the other end immediately became more alert. "Maggie? Maggie Burroughs? Well, I'll be goddamned!"
Maggie laughed at that. Doctor Alan Reynolds, or Doc as he was known to his friends, had been a colleague of hers back when she worked for the troubled youth center in Central City. God, that seemed like a lifetime ago. Along with a patient at the center named Tracy, Doc was one of the only people she'd confided her darkest secret in; her shared bloodline with Fred Krueger. "God, it's good to hear your voice right now, Doc. How's retirement treating you? How's Paris?"
Shortly after Maggie had gotten her doctorate in 2002 and moved to Springwood, Doc too had decided to uproot. Taking a post teaching classes on dream studies at the prestigious Langenkamp University in Bethlehem, California, Doc had worked and lived comfortably for the next two years, before finally finishing his book: "Beyond the Wall of Sleep: Facts and Myths About the World of Lucid Dreaming." The book was labeled a keystone of the field by dream researchers; in addition to being informative, it was also greatly accessible to laymen, resulting in an extended period on the New York Times Bestseller list. Doc had suddenly found himself unexpectedly wealthy and famous. As a result, he'd announced his retirement from teaching, taken his fortune, and relocated to an apartment in Paris, France to live out the rest of his days in leisure and quiet.
"Can't complain." Doc replied. "Lots of downtime for plenty of relaxation, reading, and research."
Maggie shook her head. Only Doc would consider research a leisure activity.
A beat of silence went by, and Maggie's grin faded as she struggled with a way to bring up the subject she had called about. Before she could, Doc spoke again.
"So… calling me straight out of the blue in the middle of the night. Is it safe to assume this isn't a social call?"
Maggie closed her eyes and sighed. He always knew. "You're too damn smart, Doc."
"What is it, Maggie?"
A long beat of silence went by before Maggie finally spoke again. "It's him."
Those two words were all it took. Maggie heard Doc's sharp intake of breath from the other line. "Him? You don't mean-"
"Krueger." Maggie finished. "My father."
"After all this time?"
"Apparently, that's all it takes for him to resurface. Time. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes a little. Either way, he always comes back."
"Yeah…" Maggie said softly.
She heard Doc grunt on the other end of the phone. He had stood up. "I'll be on the earliest flight out I can get."
Maggie sighed. "Doc, no. That's not necessary. There's nothing you can do here, that you can't do for me over the phone. Where it's safe."
"No!" Maggie said sharply. A bit sharper than she had meant to. She sighed again, running a hand through her hair. "Look, Doc. He's already started. He's killed at least four kids that we know of, and seriously messed up a fifth. We need to keep this contained and keep as many people that know of him out of this as possible. He feeds on knowledge and fear of himself. So, you need to stay in Paris and out of harm's way. Alright?"
"My God," Doc breathed. "Exactly how long has this been going on?"
"It started back up a few weeks ago." Maggie replied. "Look, there was a lot we didn't know about this bastard when we went up against him. But the town has a knowledge of him now. They're aware he exists and they have a plan in place for dealing with him." Maggie refrained from mentioning how completely useless she thought the towns Krueger policy really was. At this point, she was just trying to get Doc to stay put in Paris. "We're doing everything we can to keep him contained. I don't want you to get any more involved than this, alright Doc?"
She heard Doc sigh deeply. "Alright. Fine. I'll stay put for now. So, what do you need from me?"
Maggie closed her eyes, relieved. "Just some information. In your studies, have you ever run across someone who could… see into others' dreams?"
"You mean like shared dreaming?"
"Sort of… but it's more than that."
After everything that had happened at the funeral home, everyone had agreed to regroup at Westin Hills and pool what information they all had on Krueger. The others were waiting for Maggie now, as she spoke with Doc. Two of the girls from the funeral parlor, Rory and Kara, had ridden along with Maggie and Dr. Campbell, at Dr. Campbell's request. On the way over, they both shared what Kara had seen the night that Justin, had died. That she had seen his death, even while awake.
"Define 'more than that,'" said Doc.
"One of the girls involved," said Maggie. "Her name is Kara Murphy. She was a former patient at Westin Hills, for drug rehab. She said she's been having weird visions. Almost like dreams, but some of them happen while she's awake. She said she saw her friend get killed by Krueger. Three other kids were with her when she saw it. They said it was like she had some kind of seizure and collapsed."
"Interesting," Doc mused. "It's not without its precedent. The ability to see the dreams of others is mentioned in several sources. The Bible mentions Joseph and Daniel, who could see and interpret the dreams of kings. In Ancient Greece, the Oracle at Delphi regularly had visions, experiencing seizures and fits as she did so."
"Yeah, but the Oracle at Delphi inhaled a lot of fumes ritualistically. Most of her visions were put down to drug induced hallucinations."
Doc sighed. "After everything you've seen, still ever the pragmatist. Just because the visions were drug induced, how does that invalidate that they might be true? Perhaps part of what unlocked the abilities of the young lady you speak of was her drug use?"
Maggie scoffed. "Doc, are you suggesting heroin gives people super powers?"
"Maggie, don't be crass. I'm saying that could be part of it. I'm sure there's a certain innate ability that goes along with it too. All the priestesses at Delphi took part in the ritualistic inhalations, but only one of them became Oracle."
Maggie didn't have an immediate response for that. Doc pushed on.
"Who is this Kara Murphy, anyway? How did she get involved in this Krueger mess? How did any of the kids get involved? Do you have any idea how this whole thing got started again?"
"We think so, but…" Maggie shook her head. "It's a long story."
"Well, I think you'd better tell it to me. Start from the beginning."
Lisa Clifton took a deep drag of her cigarette before exhaling the smoke through her nostrils. She sat on the steps at the front entrance to Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital, facing the parking lot. A chill wind blew through, and Lisa clutched the leather jacket she wore tighter around her body. She tried to look up at the stars, but a massive, buzzing flood light that towered over the center of the parking lot made seeing the sky all but impossible.
Everything was finally sinking in at once. Kyle was gone and he was gone for good. And it was her own fault. Her project was trashed, meaning she had failed Berger's class once again. Meaning she was going to lose her scholarship. She could kiss school goodbye. That was her fault too.
And worst of all, she'd officially unleashed a supernatural, child murdering boogeyman back on the town of Springwood.
She'd been after the truth. And the truth was what she'd found. The nightmarish, blood-soaked truth.
She'd been told once that she was on a doomed quest, destined to drag everyone around her down with her. Her pride hadn't allowed her to see it at the time.
Now it was impossible to ignore.
From behind her, she heard the glass double doors to the hospital open, and footsteps approaching her, before a figure took a seat next to her on the stairs. Glancing over, Lisa was surprised to see one of the kids from the funeral, the slender blonde-haired girl with the Springwood High letterman's jacket.
The girl offered her a half-smile. "Hey."
Lisa nodded at her. "Hey. Rory, right?"
Lisa nodded, taking another drag off her cigarette. "Yup."
Rory tilted her head, watching her. "I didn't realize you smoked."
Lisa shrugged as she exhaled, glancing down at the cigarette in her hand. "I don't. Quit four years ago."
A long and decidedly awkward moment of silence followed between the two of them. Lisa was the first to break it.
"So, how's everything going in there? Doctor Whatserface get ahold of her friend in Paris?"
Rory shrugged. "I guess so. She hasn't come back yet."
They had all gathered in an empty conference room when they arrived at Westin. The woman doctor, Burroughs, had mentioned something about contacting a colleague of hers who was an expert on weird dream stuff, before leaving the room. The male Doctor, Campbell, the one who had punched Kyle, had left the room to go check on his daughter, who was a patient at the hospital. He'd been understandably wigged out since seeing that message (LORI'S NEXT) carved out on Kyle's chest. That had left Lisa, Rory, and Rory's friends, the good looking boy, the pretty brunette girl, and the skinny Goth chick, along with Rory's dad and the town Sheriff. Lisa had grown uncomfortable with the unblinking glare the Sheriff had been boring into her, so she had left to go have a smoke.
"Alright," Lisa said at length. "So, why'd you come out here?"
Rory raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
Lisa sighed. "You clearly came out here looking for me. I know I'm on pretty much everyone in this town's shit list, so what do you want? Have you come to berate me for getting your friend killed?"
Rory sighed. She had half expected this. "No, Lisa. It's not your fault. You couldn't have known. The only person to blame here is Fred Krueger."
But did she actually believe that? A nagging, gnawing part of Rory still blamed herself. She had been the one to reawaken him at 1428 Elm Street. She had been the one that, unable to keep her fear of him in check, had given him license to begin slowly spreading his influence throughout Springwood once more… if Lisa had shown up ranting and raving about Krueger, and no one at the school had known enough about him to be scared, would he have even been able to regain the foothold he now had in the town? Who was really to blame for all this madness?
It was a complicated chicken and egg scenario and the more Rory thought about it, the more she didn't like the answers.
"Well," Lisa finally said, interrupting Rory's train of thought. "You're probably the only one in this entire town, myself included, that doesn't blame me."
Rory didn't know how to respond to that, so she tried a different approach. "I'm sorry about your friend."
Lisa nodded, "Me too."
Rory nodded in response. Another moment of silence went by before Lisa suddenly slammed her fist down on the concrete top step.
"He was such a fucking idiot!" she cried out. Her voice was cracking, and Rory could see tears streaming down her face. "He was, like, fucking in love with me, and I knew it, and I used it to get him to help me, and do whatever I told him. And all I did was treat him like shit. All I ever do is treat everyone like shit."
Rory hesitantly put a hand on Lisa's shoulder. "I'm sorry… you two were-?"
"No." Lisa shook her head. "I mean, Kyle was probably the closest thing to a friend I had, but it didn't go any further than that. He, uh… wasn't exactly my type, you know?"
Rory raised an eyebrow at that. Lisa glanced over at her, before sniffling and wiping back a few tears.
"Guys," she went on. "They don't really do it for me. Get it?"
"Oh," Rory said simply. "Kyle didn't know that?"
Lisa shrugged. "I don't know. But I didn't volunteer the information. I just let him keep trying."
Rory winced slightly. That stung a bit. Vying for unrequited love that she didn't have a shot at wasn't unfamiliar to her. It was pretty much a good, single line definition for her entire relationship with her mother before her parents divorced. And now that her parents were no longer together, it seemed as though Rory barely existed at all to her mom. A ten minute courtesy call on her birthday and Christmas was about all she got now; usually a very simple and formal call, with her mother referring to her exclusively by her full name: Lorelai.
Her mother had always refused to call her Rory, ever since her father had affectionately christened her with the nickname, due to the way Rory had mispronounced her own name as a three-year old, and the name had stuck, much to her mother's chagrin.
"Rory is a boy's name!" she could remember her mother telling her father one night at the dinner table in that always exasperated tone of hers, after her father had asked Rory to pass her the salt. "If anything, her nickname should be Lori! We named her Lorelai, dammit!"
Rory was never sure if her mother hated the nickname so much because her father had come up with it, or because Rory herself had liked it so much. In any case, her mother had eventually grown to acknowledge that Rory preferred the nickname, but she never accepted it fully. She refused to call her anything but Lorelai.
And the calls always ended so abruptly with a simple "bye. No "I love you," no "talk to you later." Just a quick "bye" followed by a click and a dial tone, before Rory could even respond.
And she couldn't lie to herself anymore either… it was something she was starting to feel as far as Luke was concerned too. Chas had always given Rory a hard time, telling her she saw how Rory looked at him, how Rory laughed at his jokes, etc. Rory had always denied that she had any feelings for Luke that were more than friendly.
But seeing the way he and Kara looked at each other now… the way Luke had leapt forward to catch Kara when she'd fainted in Rory's room. How he'd sat so close to her at Justin's funeral…
God, you're being stupid! a voice in the back of Rory's head screamed at her. And it was right! It was stupid of her to be worrying about useless crap like this when people were dying. She'd always prided herself on being so strong in the face of her parents' divorce, on being so above feelings of petty, teenaged, jealousy. And now, when it really mattered, she was failing miserably on both accounts.
"Hello? You still awake?" Lisa suddenly waved a hand in front of her face, and Rory realized she'd been staring off into space for several moments now. She blinked several times before nodding.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. Just… a lot to think about, you know?"
Lisa scoffed, taking one final drag off her cigarette, before flicking the butt into the parking lot. It skidded across the asphalt, glowing like a small, orange, shooting star, before burning out. "Yeah. I know."
Rory glanced out across the parking lot, and shivered. It was cold, and aside from the monotonous buzzing of the flood lights that loomed over them, it was dead silent. Rory could just barely make out the silhouettes of the trees towering just beyond the chain link fence that surrounded the psychiatric hospital. They stood utterly still. There was no wind. No animal noises. Nothing but the buzzing of the lights.
"It's fucking creepy how quiet it is out here," Lisa said, as if reading Rory's thoughts.
Rory tried to shrug it off. "It's just 'cause of everything that's been happening over the past few days."
Lisa shook her head. "No. It's more than that. It's in the air. Can't you feel it?"
Rory glanced over at her raising an eyebrow.
"It's like, when I was a kid," Lisa continued. "I spent a summer at my aunt's house in Decatur, Illinois, just north of Haddonfield, when I was fourteen. Flatter than hell farm land. Just rows of corn for miles and miles. It also happened to be on the knife edge of Tornado alley. One afternoon, it got all quiet like this. It hadn't been a great day. It'd been rainy and stormy, and some of them got pretty nasty. There was even a little hail. Then all of a sudden… it all stopped. It just got utterly quiet. No wind. No animals. Nothing. Everything quiet and still. The sky was blocked out by pitch black clouds. You could just feel that something wasn't right. My aunt corralled me and my brother into the storm cellar… bam!" Lisa suddenly clapped her hands together, causing Rory to jump. "That's when it happened. An explosion of thunder. Rain and hail fell like machine gun fire. And this badass tornado came down and swept everything away. My aunt, my brother and I… none of us were hurt. But the house was flattened. The corn stalks were destroyed. The ground was all torn to shit. A pig farm a few miles down the road was hit too, and there were pig corpses and pieces of pig corpses everywhere. It looked like a fucking bomb had gone off…"
Rory stared at her unblinking. Lisa shook her head as if coming out of a trance, before glancing over at the blonde girl. "That's what this feels like. Everything that came before was just the precursor storms. Now we're at the calm… after this?" She just shook her head.
Rory swallowed hard, before glancing back out into the darkness.
The only sound was the buzzing of the floodlights.
The silence was palpable in the empty conference room on the second floor of Westin Hills. The room was large and mostly empty save for the long conference table, around which ten chairs were gathered. On one side of the room was a large wooden door that led out into the hallway. On the wall opposite, a wall-length, plate glass window overlooked the hospital's courtyard.
Kara Murphy sat at the conference table on the opposite side from the window, quietly drumming her fingers on her chair's armrest. She had been nervous since they pulled into the hospital's parking lot. Hell, she'd been nervous since Dr. Burroughs suggested it as a meeting place. She was glad she'd gone through rehab and kicked the drugs she was on, but nonetheless, Westin Hills was still the setting of the most hellacious summer of her entire life. Being back at the place, even in a room as unfamiliar as this conference room, was enough to get her heart hammering. She was surprised it wasn't vibrating the giant windows, with how hard it was thumping.
Seated across from her, staring down at her own lap, was Chastity. The cuts and bruises from… whatever Krueger had put her through, Chas wouldn't talk about it… were still fresh on her face. She shivered slightly, and her eyes were wide and staring. Kara could tell the other girl was a million miles away at the moment. She hadn't said a word since they left the funeral home.
Seated next to Chas, his hands bridged in front of his face, was Rory's dad, Donald. He too looked deep in thought. Kara was sure he was still coming to grips with what he'd been told earlier, his mind probably still grasping for a rational explanation. Krueger didn't typically target adults, or so they'd been told. He hadn't seen the dream demon himself, and chances are he wouldn't, unless he became a direct threat to whatever plans Krueger had this time. Kara tried to imagine what her reaction to all of this would be had she not been personally confronted by Krueger in her dreams, and seen firsthand what he'd done to Tyler and Molly. It was hard to think about, considering before this whole mess started, she hadn't really been into other peoples' business at all. If someone had told her they'd been attacked by a man in their dreams, she probably wouldn't have been able to drum up enough energy to even care whether it was real or not.
The level of concern these people had shown her, though… it'd been staggering to her. Especially Rory… Kara's stomach twisted into knots as she remembered what Rory had done for her in the dream world. As Kara had been dangling over that horrific nightmare machine, Krueger had demanded that Rory choose whether Kara die, or whether one of Rory's friends would die. Rory had chosen to let Kara live. Kara didn't know why… she supposed it had just been a heat of the moment thing. It was a lot more difficult to make the choice when one of the victims was dangling in front of you, pleading for her life.
Kara paused at that thought and glanced to her left. Luke was sitting beside her, staring off into space, just like everyone else at the table. Luke had taken an inexplicably keen interest in her since this whole thing started, and Kara would be lying to herself if she didn't admit she was starting to feel the warm fuzzies for him as well. Would he feel the same if he knew that Kara being alive had come at the cost of his best friend's death?
Someone clearing their throat interrupted her thoughts, and Kara glanced over to see Sheriff Williams, standing at the head of the conference table, glancing back and forth between everyone seated there. He'd been so quiet since they'd arrived, Kara had forgotten he was here. A strong sense of dislike welled up in her. She remembered the Sheriff from their encounter the night Molly and Tyler had died. How he'd tried to convince her she hadn't seen the words on the wall (One, two, Freddy's coming for you!) and had even alluded to accusing her of drug use to keep her off the trail. She supposed she knew now why he had done so… but he'd been so snide and self-righteous about it at the time.
"So, how many of you have seen him?" the Sheriff asked, once he'd gotten their collective attention. "Dreamt of him, I mean."
Nobody said anything for a moment. The question came as a shock and almost felt obscene. It was as if the sheriff had just asked any of them if they'd ever been raped before. Finally, Chastity, slowly, shakily raised her hand.
"I did." She said in a small voice.
Kara nodded. "Me too. And Rory." She paused for a moment before continuing. "I imagine Tyler and Molly saw him too that night you lied to me about what was written on the wall of the Elm Street house."
Sheriff Williams' face immediately darkened when Kara had said that, but the girl really didn't care. The sheriff had treated her like an idiot after her friends had died and had been on the verge of arresting her just to cover the whole thing up. Plus the guy just irked her… cops always had, for obvious reasons…
Across the table, Donald sighed and finally looked up. "What is the deal with the house? Does anyone know? Why does Krueger haunt it? Did he die there?"
The sheriff shook his head. "No, he died at his other lair, the old power plant on the edge of town. 1428 Elm Street was where he grew up, with his foster father, Al Underwood. He inherited the house after Underwood died. Lived there with his wife and kid, while he was… doing what he did."
Luke looked up, his face contorted in a mixture of shock and disgust. "He had a wife and kid?"
Williams nodded. "A daughter. She was only 8 years old when Krueger murdered his wife in front of her, after Mrs. Krueger found all of his tools of the trade locked up in the basement. If it weren't for the daughter confessing to what she'd seen, the bastard may never have been caught in the first place… of course then all the business with the warrant went down…" Williams paused, before waving a hand dismissively. "Ah, you all heard the rest of the story…"
"What happened to his daughter?" Luke asked.
The sheriff shrugged. "She was taken by the state, put up for adoption, and disappeared into the system. God only knows where she's at now."
At that moment the door to the conference room opened, and Dr. Campbell walked in, carrying a brown paper bag, followed by Maggie. Maggie moved to the head of the table to stand by Sheriff Williams, while Dr. Campbell placed the bag at the table's center, and opened it. He withdrew from it an orange, prescription pill bottle, which he tossed to Luke. The contents rattled as Luke caught it.
"Everybody should take one of these," Dr. Campbell said, as he began passing out more of the pill bottles to all of the teenagers gathered.
Chas looked at the bottle's label as it was handed to her. "Hypnocil? What's Hypnocil?"
"A dream suppressant," Dr. Campbell replied, crumpling up the paper bag as he handed the last bottle to Kara. "It'll keep you from dreaming of him. It's a short term solution, but it should keep you safe for now."
Without hesitation, Chastity opened her bottle and immediately dry swallowed one of the large, white pills it contained.
Luke raised his eyebrows as he looked at his bottle. "This bright red warning label looks really inviting. 'Prolonged consumption may be hazardous to your health?'"
Maggie crossed her arms, shooting Dr. Campbell a stern look. "That's right. Taking Hypnocil for a prolonged period can put you into a coma."
"Which is why it's a temporary solution." Kara noticed how Dr. Campbell avoided making eye contact with Maggie as he replied. "And anyway, only a small minority of our patients has experienced that particular side effect, and it was only after several months of use."
Luke looked at him for a long moment before glancing back down at his bottle of Hypnocil. "Oh, well… that makes me feel lots better…"
Maggie said nothing, but shook her head.
Sheriff Williams glanced back and forth between the two of them, before clearing his throat. "So, Dr. Burroughs… did you manage to get ahold of your friend?"
Maggie nodded. "I did, but I think I should wait until everybody's back here before I get into what he and I discussed."
As if on cue, the door opened again… but the people who came through it were not who Kara expected.
The first was a young man, she recognized as Jonathan, the lanky, black haired Westin Hills orderly.
The second was a girl she'd never seen before. She wore the white sweatshirt/sweatpants combo that was standard at the mental institution. She looked to be in maybe her mid twenties. She would've been very pretty, were it not for the haggard, almost manic look in her eye, and her long, blonde hair hung in front of her face in stringy clumps. The orderly, Jonathan, lead her to a chair at the table, which she awkwardly slipped into, as her gaze darted back and forth between everyone else gathered there. Dr. Campbell seemed especially surprised to see her, and he wheeled toward Maggie, opening his mouth to speak, when Maggie put a hand up.
"Yes, I had Jonathan bring her here, and you can save it, Roy. I know you want to keep her safe, but Lori's already a part of this. You know as well as I do that she's already dreamed of Krueger since he came back, and keeping her locked up in her room and away from the rest of us isn't going to help protect her."
"You know how sensitive she is about all this!" Campbell suddenly snapped, marching around the table to stand behind his daughter. "She shouldn't be involved, she needs to stay out of this, take her Hypnocil and-"
"Quit talking about me like I'm not here!" Lori suddenly screeched, causing Dr. Campbell to jump in shock. "I'm not one of your catatonic, Hypnocil junkies, Dad! And I haven't taken my Hypnocil in weeks now."
Dr. Campbell grabbed the back of her chair, as if his legs were about to give out on him. "You what?"
Lori glared over her shoulder at him. "You heard me. You know what that shit does to people. It's not the solution. He keeps coming back, no matter how many drugs you cram down peoples' throats!" Lori turned to look at everyone else gathered around the table. "I sent this bastard to hell once. I want to help do it again. Permanently this time."
Kara felt a lump rise in her throat. So this was Lori Campbell. She'd heard about Lori during her time at Westin Hills, but had never actually seen her. Lori was always one of the more frequent subjects of gossip among the patients and orderlies. She'd apparently gone crazy and strangled her boyfriend to death the night she lost her virginity to him, and now she was kept isolated in Westin's maximum security wing. There'd been stories about her attacking orderlies when they tried to give her medications, and stories about how she'd scream herself hoarse for days (and nights) on end, alone in her cell. Kara had always regarded these stories as the Westin Hills equivalent of campfire tales, but now, seeing the wild, almost animalistic look in the blonde girl's eyes, she found the gossip suddenly much more believable.
A long moment of silence passed. Kara exchanged glances, first with Luke, then with Chastity. Nobody seemed to know what to say from there.
Suddenly, the door opened a third time, and Lisa and Rory walked in. Lisa stopped abruptly when she entered the room, as all eyes turned to her at once.
"Uh… hi…" she said slowly. "Did we, uh, miss something?"
Maggie shook her head and gestured to the table. "No, in fact, now that you're both back, we can begin."
Lisa and Rory both took seats at the table, Lisa next to Chastity and Rory next to her father. Dr. Campbell took a seat next to Lori, while Maggie and Sheriff Williams remained standing at the head of the table.
"Feels like we're in a fucking war room." Lisa muttered.
Rory shrugged. "We kind of are."
Maggie made eye contact with Kara, before nodding to her. "Kara, why don't you tell everyone what you told Dr. Campbell and myself on the way over here? About what you saw the night Justin Straub died."
All eyes at the table turned to Kara who paled and sunk back into her chair. "Uh, well… I saw him die."
Donald's eyes shot wide. "You saw him die? What do you mean you saw him die?"
Kara shrugged. "I mean I saw it. One minute I was in Rory's room, the next minute I feel like someone's jabbed a hot poker into the back of my head, and I see Justin, lying on the floor, all cut up. And…"
Maggie raised her eyebrows now. "And?"
Kara sighed. She hadn't shared the rest of what she'd seen with anyone else yet. It just seemed so unbelievable. Finally she closed her eyes. "And then this chick appeared. I don't know… she kind of looked like… like an angel, you know?"
Everyone regarded that with silence, except for Rory, who suddenly sat up stock straight. "Can you describe her?"
"I dunno… pretty? Youngish…" Kara gestured to Lisa. "Like her age. She was like, wearing this flowy white dress and she was kind of… glowing. Uh… kinda bushy brown hair with…"
Rory suddenly stood excitedly. "With a grey streak?"
Now it was Kara's turn to raise her eyebrows. "Uh, yeah… how'd you-?"
"I've seen her too! Her name's Nancy Thompson! My dad found her diary at the Elm Street house!"
Donald glanced up. "I did?"
Sheriff Williams suddenly put his hands up. "Hold on, back up now… Nancy Thompson?"
Rory nodded. "Yeah, that was the name in the diary. I dreamt of her too. She kind of explained to me how Freddy works, with the fear and all that. She warned me about him."
The Sheriff looked at Maggie. "Krueger's arresting officer back in '68 was named Don Thompson. He had a daughter named Nancy. He was also one of the ringleaders of the mob that burned Krueger to death, and his daughter was the only survivor of the first big Krueger go-around. She died a few years later though… here at Westin Hills. A lot of people believe it was at Krueger's hands. Her father was found dead the same night, in an old junkyard on the edge of town."
"Jesus," Maggie breathed.
Kara felt a lump grow in her throat. So the bushy haired girl was real. The dream she had wasn't just nonsense. She couldn't decide if that was more or less comforting.
"Did she say anything to you?" Luke asked.
Kara nodded. "Yeah, she just said it was too late, and he was back. Also…" she paused again.
"Go ahead, Kara," Maggie said gently.
Kara sighed, before nodding and continuing. She told them everything else. About the vision she'd had after she passed out. About the Indian ritual, and the elders in the middle of the forest. And about the woman, Nancy, reappearing at the end of the dream, and her final, cryptic words: "Crystal… Lake… Wolfsong… Find him!"
Kara glanced around the table when she finished, noting, as she expected, all of the looks of bewilderment she was getting. Of course, her story was pointless… how could anyone-?
Her thoughts were interrupted as her gaze fell on Lori, and the look of utter shock the blonde was regarding her with. Kara raised her eyebrows. "Um… what-?"
"Crystal Lake!" Lori turned to her father. "That's where it happened seven years ago! That's where Kia and Linderman died! Where I killed Freddy!"
"Shit!" Lisa suddenly sat forward. "That's right! For my documentary, we went to Crystal Lake a few weeks ago because of its connections to the Elm Street house! The Springwood kids that were found dead there… they were your friends?"
Lori nodded. Now Maggie stepped forward again. She looked calm, but there seemed to be a kind of excitement bubbling just below the surface as she spoke to Kara. "Crystal Lake. Wolfsong. You're sure that's what this woman… Nancy… told you?"
Kara nodded. "Yeah. Why?"
"When I spoke to Doc," Maggie replied. "I asked him if there was anyone he knew of who might be able to give us some insight into this whole situation. I asked him about any experts in lucid or waking dreams. He gave me the name of someone he interviewed for his book. The man's name was Eli Wolfsong."
Kara's eyes widened at this. Maggie continued. "Mr. Wolfsong belongs to an obscure Native American tribe called the Shokanee. They were a tribe who specialized in shared dreaming… a process they called Dream Walking. Wolfsong lives in a cabin on the land his people used to live on for centuries, until the land went 'sour' after a supposed ritual they performed to exorcise a powerful evil dream spirit. That land today is known as Forest Green… on what used to be Crystal Lake."
Kara slumped back into her seat in shock. What did all this mean? All these visions she'd been having lately… were they all true? What did that mean about her?
The group sat in silence for a very long moment. Finally, Lisa broke it.
"Well… who wants to go on a road trip?"
Father Edmund Carnahan awoke with a start, to total blackness. Panic set in briefly, before common sense took hold, and his eyes began to adjust to the dark. He was in his office, his rectory located behind the altar at the front of The Resurrection and the Life Holy Catholic Church, Springwood's oldest, and only remaining Catholic parish. Carnahan sighed, switching on the small lamp on his ancient, oak desk, before leaning back in his chair stretching, his back popping several times.
The office was, as always, immaculately clean and organized to a nearly Spartan degree, just the way Carnahan liked it. An open Bible rested at the exact center of his desk, the small, green shaded desklamp positioned directly above it. On the wall across from the desk, on the right hand side of the door that lead to the sanctuary was a small shelf, loaded to capacity with several old, theological volumes of study. On the right was a painting of a warm, and smiling Jesus Christ, walking with several children amongst two golden gates set in the clouds.
To balance that glowing symbol of grace was the stark symbol of the law that was the large, hand carved crucifix that hung on the back of the door. Christ was featured on this piece as well, though in a much bloodier and more agonizing state.
There was a large window directly behind Carnahan's desk that looked out on the gated cemetery located behind the church. The green curtains, were pulled back. Carnahan had a bit of an issue with claustrophobia, so he liked to keep his office as open to the elements as possible. The droplets that littered the other side of the window indicated that it had been raining earlier today, which was nothing new. It had been raining almost non-stop the past few weeks. It seemed as though it had stopped now.
Carnahan stood and stretched again, hearing the creaking of the bones in his neck. At the age of 55, he'd been hearing a lot of creaking in his bones lately. He was tall and thin, what little bit remained of his snow white hair clung mostly to the back of his head. He had deeply sunken, sleepy, though warm, brown eyes, and a neatly trimmed, white goatee. He wore the traditional garb of the priesthood, a long black cassock, with a white collar. A crucifix hung around his neck.
Carnahan checked his watch and sighed. It was a little past 1 in the morning. He'd come in that night to keep an eye on the confessional booth (not that any of Springwood's denizens took the time to confess these days…) and write his sermon for the upcoming weekend services, and he'd managed to doze off. Again. It'd been a process he'd been becoming all too familiar with recently: coming into the church to do some work or some reading, and dozing off. At least he hadn't slept the whole night through like he'd done the previous Wednesday. Carnahan grimaced and rubbed his neck as he thought about that. He still hadn't managed to get the kink out.
Carnahan turned and glanced out the window just as a bolt of lightning flashed across the sky. He froze at what the instant of illumination had revealed.
There had been a shrouded figure standing in the graveyard.
Carnahan leaned forward, cupping his hands around his eyes as he stared intently out the window. His eyes slowly adjusted, and though the darkness was still thick, he could just barely make out movement. There was somebody out in the cemetery!
Carnahan felt anger bubbling up inside him. The cemetery had been suffering from an unusual amount of vandalism lately (and not the normal kind of vandalism, but strange, and morbid vandalism… arcane symbols spray painted on the graves, dissected corpses of rabbits, squirrels, and even a few cats and dogs nailed to the fences or laid out in front of the headstones.) Carnahan had caught teenagers on the grounds after hours several times. He'd called the Springwood Sheriff's Department multiple times, and had gotten the impression that the police could simply care less about vandalism at the old church. A cop would show up, take his statement, and then leave without asking any questions. Carnahan wouldn't hear from them again afterward. It was infuriating.
Father Carnahan glanced momentarily at the phone at his desk, before brushing the idea aside. He would take care of this himself. Like always. He grabbed his black overcoat off the back of his chair and threw it on before making his way toward the door…
The first thing that gave Father Carnahan pause, as he stepped out into the night via the church's side exit was that the flood light that usually kept the graveyard at least partially illuminated was out. He should have noticed this from his office, but in his anger at the intruder and his haste to investigate, he simply hadn't taken the time to realize it.
The second was that he had neglected to grab a flashlight on his way out. There was one in the church's basement, a big maglight, but were he to go back for it now, the intruder would most likely get away, and Carnahan was determined to catch the individual red handed. He had a small penlight in his jacket pocket, which he would just have to make do with.
The wind began to pick up, small cyclones of dried leaves springing up all around the priest, barely visible in the small beam of his penlight as Carnahan made his way along the side wall of the church, toward the wrought iron gates that lead into the cemetery. When he reached them, his penlight fell on sight that gave him pause.
The gate was ajar. Normally chained and padlocked shut at this time of the night, the chain lay in a heap on the ground. The bolt of the padlock had been neatly cut through.
Bolt cutters. Most of the kids who snuck into the graveyard had found ways over the fence. This individual had used bolt cutters.
What if this wasn't merely some delinquent? What if it was someone more dangerous?
Carnahan shook his head. So one of the youngsters had gotten into their father's tool shed and swiped a pair of bolt cutters. All this would mean was that Carnahan would have more evidence to present to the police, after he caught the culprit. And that he'd have to invest in a stronger lock. With a loud creak, Carnahan pulled the gates open and entered the cemetery.
The cemetery was ancient an unkempt. The grave stones, some of which had been there since Springwood was first a fortified settlement in the early 19th century, were mostly crumbling and barely legible. The grass was long and weedy, as the Resurrection and the Life's attendance had never been magnificent, and the church had never been able to afford a proper grounds keeper.
Carnahan sighed deeply as he walked through the graveyard, his penlight falling on various degrees of vandalism from the past that had never been properly prepared. Phrases sprayed painted here and there ("Can't even shout, can't even cry, the gentlemen are coming by!", "All Hail the Crimson King!", "Jason Lives!", "CROATOAN" and a strange symbol that looked like a vertical slash mark with a triangle protruding from its side midway among many others…) One grave, in the shape of a weeping angel, was still smeared with the dried blood of a small, dismembered, dog that Carnahan himself had found tied around the angel's neck several weeks back. The vandals in this town were truly ghoulish.
As Father Carnahan made his way further and further from the church, the graves around him began growing older and more ancient looking, crumbling and barely legible due to no other vandal but time itself. The church and the graveyard had been here since Springwood was settled back in the early 1800's. Carnahan could begin to make out now, the tall, spiked iron fence that stretched across the graveyard's back boundary. Beyond there were thick woods. In the starless night, it looked as though nothing but blackness lay beyond the church's grounds.
Father Carnahan stopped walking now, sighing and shining his penlight at the grounds around him. He'd walked through nearly the entire cemetery now, and he hadn't found anyone. Perhaps they'd seen him coming and-
His train of thought came to a sudden abrupt stop, and Father Carnahan felt a sudden cold feeling drop like a stone in the pit of his gut.
A grave had been unearthed.
About eight feet long and four feet wide, one of the graves closest to the fence surrounding the entire cemetery looked like it had been completely dug up, a large, fresh pile of dirt just beside the hole. Carnahan moved quickly to the grave, briefly shining his penlight on the headstone. It was barely intact, the name – Solomon Voorhees – hardly legible. The dates were completely worn away. This was clearly one of the single oldest graves in the cemetery. Carnahan shined his light into the open crave.
The hole was deep and wet. Carnahan could see tree roots and earthworms jutting from its earthen walls. At the bottom, lay the shattered remains of what had once been the rotten, ancient lid of a coffin. Beyond the lid, half buried in dirt that had most likely leaked into the coffin ages ago, Carnahan could see the front of a skull, ribs, and a skeletal hand. The hand looked as though it had been clutching at something, but that something had been taken away.
Carnahan stood up straight now. Who would have-?
KLANG! Without warning, something hard struck the priest viciously in the back of the head, and everything went black.
The shrouded figure stood at the edge of the grave it had recently uncovered. The priest who had made the mistake of nosing into the figure's business now lay crumpled on top of the shattered coffin at the grave's bottom. The head of the shovel the figure held was now spattered with the priest's blood. With only a moments' hesitation, the shrouded figure made its way over to the mound of dirt beside the grave and refilled it. It wasn't long before the figure's work was complete and the grave was covered over again.
Dropping the shovel, the figure began to make its way out of the cemetery. It didn't care who found the shovel… or the priest, for that matter. The figure had been very careful not to leave any fingerprints or any other traces that could lead anybody back to it… not that it was concerned. With what was beginning, the figure doubted very much the priest's murder would be a very high priority.
All that mattered was that the figure had found what it had come for. It reached a gloved hand into the folds of its thick, black, hooded overcoat and withdrew what it had wrested from the dead clutches of Solomon Voorhees's corpse.
An old, mildew ridden, leather bound book. Stenciled into the book's cover, in a very old script, were the words "Forbydden Mysteriis."
With this the figure would end it. With this the figure would make sure that they kept their word.
That was all that mattered.
The sickening calm would soon be over…